One With Nature: How Cory Jones is Making An Impact
Surrounded by rolling hills and crashing waves, fishing holes and skate parks, communication studies senior, Cory Jones, spent his childhood appreciating the beauty of San Luis Obispo but didn’t always realize how special his hometown really was. As years passed, Jones began to truly cherish the countless opportunities his backyard had to offer, and he realized just how many adventurous souls were seeking to fulfill their passions in the community. The need to cherish and preserve our slice of this earth for many future generations became increasingly important to Jones, so in late 2013, he and two other natives from the Cal Poly community – Colton Haynes (Business, ’16) and Doug Swarts (Economics, ’12) – decided something needed to be done. They created their company, One With Nature (O.W.N.), with a vision “to inspire lives by preserving and improving the environment we live in.”
Armed with communication skills from courses such as Persuasion, Advanced Public Speaking, and Interpersonal Communication, Jones began to make community-wide changes. By speaking at the county-wide March for Climate Action in November and city council meetings, and by sharing thoughts and messages through social media outlets and at community events, Jones quickly learned that clear, effective and concise communication is the best way to influence change. His authenticity and genuine concern for the environment are assets that helped him persuade community leaders to improve and preserve the environment.
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One of O.W.N.’s first projects, which was backed by the city, was to put signs on local trailheads that encourage hikers to “leave your prints, not your trash” when exploring. Additionally, the crew and about ten others completed a four-day bike ride from Big Sur to San Luis Obispo to raise awareness of their vision and passion for the environment. The ride was sponsored by Arts Cyclery, Centrally Grown, 805 Beer and Colin Nearman Photography, and was featured in the Central Coast’s “SLO Life Magazine.”
Through the campaign “Refills Not Landfills,” Jones persuaded the City Council to consider an ordinance restricting the sale and use of single-use plastic bottles and to build refill stations into the community infrastructure. After gathering nearly 1,000 signatures demonstrating community support, Jones presented his appeal at the February City Council meeting and was greatly encouraged when the issue was put on the Council’s agenda. Fueled by the success of this campaign, Jones has recently prepared a petition to reduce the distribution of drinking straws to further minimize unnecessary waste in San Luis Obispo County.
Complete with videos, merchandise, and a blog highlighting current projects, concerns and solutions, the O.W.N. website and social media platforms bring awareness to the issues the team cares about. The company also plans to create virtual trail guides, partner with local vendors for responsible tourism and ultimately become a “content powerhouse,” spreading awareness and appreciation of our local environment through as many platforms and partnerships as possible.